March 26, 2013 9:12:23 PM by
As those of you who read my various writing know, our nation’s campuses are far from hubs of free inquiry. Today’s campus culture more accurately resembles a corporation, or, viewed a bit more cynically, a mini-police state. In my most recent piece for Minding the Campus, co-authored with my research assistants, Juliana DeVries and Zachary Bloom, we explain how the Harvard email search scandal is only the latest demonstration of administrators and lawyers’ power over faculty and staff. This latest invasion of academic prerogatives by the overlords should be a wake-up call to spur a rebellion against the unholy trends destroying liberal arts institutions all over the country.
You can read the piece at the following link:
October 03, 2012 7:59:31 PM by
Many of you have heard of the ongoing cheating scandal at Harvard, in which 125 students in a class called “Introduction to Congress” were accused of cheating on a take-home final exam. Harvard’s administrators have initiated a vast inquiry into the allegations, pledging to adjudicate each student’s case separately before the notorious Administrative Board. However, doubts have been expressed here and there over whether Harvard’s cheating rules, and the professor’s and teaching assistants’ instructions to the students, were sufficiently clear to function as a fair basis for these allegations in all cases.
In our recent piece for Minding the Campus, my research assistant Zachary Bloom and I offer the case of John McCoy, a former Harvard Extension School student falsely accused of cheating on an exam, as an object lesson in why one should be skeptical of these kinds of charges emanating from Harvard, and of the reliability of the Administrative Board to actually come to a fair and rational decision on allegations of cheating. McCoy’s battles with implacable administrators show that Harvard’s disciplinary system is a far cry from the truth-finding apparatus that it claims to be.
September 23, 2012 7:10:18 PM by
Last year, Harvard’s Freshman Dean Thomas Dingman drew the wrath of former Dean of Harvard College Harry Lewis, as well as the mockery of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for pressuring incoming students to sign a pledge that "the exercise of kindness holds a place on par with intellectual attainment." This year, Dean Dingman abandoned the criticized pledge tactic (in what turns out to be nothing more than a tactical retreat) but not his overriding commitment to imposing on students’ freedom of conscience. Without any public pre-announcement (which doomed last year's thought-reform efforts), Dean Dingman managed to slip a stealth re-education program into Harvard's freshman orientation week. As part of this “sensitivity training” students were made to perform skits where they acted out civility, as the Harvard administration defined it. In my most recent column for Minding the Campus, co-authored with my research assistant Juliana DeVries, I explain how this turn of events fits the Harvard administration into a long history of authoritarian intrusions into freedom of thought, yet nary a word of protest has been heard from Harvard students, alumni, faculty, and governing boards.
The column after the jump...
July 23, 2012 7:25:50 PM by
Recent coverage of the Sandusky scandal has hastily reached the conclusion that what Penn State and other campuses require are more rules and regulations—and more administrators to enforce them—in the name of “risk management.” In my most recent piece for Minding the Campus, I point out that an army of lawyers and administrators who handle "risk" should not be necessary to assure that action be taken when the football coach is told that one of his assistants is raping young boys in the locker room shower. The Penn State scandal is a symptom of a larger cultural problem that infects our universities nationwide. It should be a wake-up call to our nation's universities—not to hire more administrators, lawyers, and risk consultants, but to undo the tyranny of the toxic campus cultures that administrators have created with the quiet acquiescence of trustees and outside the knowledge of alumni, students and parents, as well as the news media that have been fooled for so long by the new academic culture.
The article after the jump...
January 04, 2012 9:06:44 PM by
I have great respect (and concern) for college students. As I told one Boston Herald reporter not too long ago, “Never declare war on the young, They’ll outlast you, they’ll outthink you, they’ll outdo you.” To the Herald I was commenting about the government’s attempt to get the identity of anonymous “Occupy tweeters,” but I could just as easily have been castigating college administrators. Too often the administration and faculty attempt to foist an orthodoxy or ideology onto their youthful charges; sometimes they are successful, but often, the students are able to stand up and educate their elders on the importance of freedom of speech and individual conscience.
In my piece on Mindingthecampus.com, I compliment a recent Harvard Crimson editorial that stands up to administrators and faculty all too eager to proclaim Harvard’s solidarity with a political movement. The Crimson staff was able to see the slippery slope inherent in a university’s proposed institutional support for a political cause; the students had a clarity of vision their elders, including their teachers, so often lack. But in the piece I also describe ways in which the Crimson editorial board has been far from perfect in its recent defense of free speech. Harvard’s constant assault on student freedom of speech and conscience—please see my research assistant Daniel Schwartz’s latest article here, published by FIRE in their academic journal “The Lantern,” for a longer explication—has taken a toll. Even the Crimson, a formerly uniformly reliable bulwark against administrative overreach, has during recent times acquiesced to the politically correct pressures exerted by faculty and administration. One hopes that freedom of speech and thought can be restored to our campuses before administrators and professors complete the task of brainwashing their young charges.